by Ife Adebayo
I believe the President and Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces could have done much better in the immediate aftermath of the kidnap.
100 days is a long time, more than 3 months. If you attended boarding school in one of Nigeria’s federal boarding houses in the 90s you will understand what it means to be away from home for 100 days. I remember I never looked forward to returning to school for our approximately 100 days per term. Our 100 days from home was however time spent with people of our age bracket, we attended classes, slept in hostels with mattresses, went for sports activities, ate good food and still we hated spending those 100 days away from home.
When I remember those 100 days per term away from home, I cannot but be completely depressed at the thought of what the Chibok girls must be going through. These girls were abducted from their bed in dormitories like the ones we used to sleep in and carted away in trucks like cattle. They have been taken to locations that many of us cannot even spend a night in, in the forests with gory tales of rape and murder taking place on a daily basis. I cannot imagine the horror their lives must be, waking up beside these men daily in the forest with snakes, insects and all sorts, living in shacks and make-shift tents. Not forgetting we are in the rainy season. These girls are at the age of puberty and will have to deal with the pains and complications of their menstrual cycles in these horrendous conditions. For those who think the government has done enough, for those who question the abductions, for those who hate on the #BringBackOurGirls movement, I will like you to take a moment and imagine your sister had to be with these girls.
I believe the President and Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces could have done much better in the immediate aftermath of the kidnap. I believe we could have mustered all our military and intelligence assets in the hours after the abduction before the terrorists could go too far away with our precious daughters. Right now we hear different tales of the current situation but we see no visible signs of improvement. More women and girls have been kidnapped after the Chibok incidence, the Boko Haram flag currently flies in Damboa village just 80kilometers from Maiduguri the capital of Borno State after they killed scores of Nigerians and took over the whole village. If you ask me, these are not signs that show we have a government in control or a government that is any closer today to bringing back our girls than it was 100 days ago. I will be pleasantly surprised and glad if I am proven wrong.
Many doubt the ability of the brave men and women of the Nigerian Armed Forces to bring back our girls. Many more doubt their ability to secure the nation. I am one of those that believe the Nigerian Armed Forces are indeed capable of bringing back our girls in soon and they are capable of securing every inch of this nation. I do not believe we have a problem of efficiency, the problem we have is one of leadership and direction. With the right leadership from the Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces I believe we will find a solution to this Boko Haram menace that threatens our collective existence.
President Goodluck Jonathan needs to man up, he needs to get firm with his chiefs of staff, NSA and SSS top echelon and start to get to the root of this Boko Haram problem. The president needs to be bold and start blocking all sources of Boko Haram funding. We need to move forces everywhere Boko Haram is hiding whether it is in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger or Chad. We need to move in and smoke them out with or without the approval of the neighboring countries. The president needs to realize he is the president of Nigeria and North East Nigeria is part of Nigeria. However, equally important, the All Progressive Congress, Nigeria’s main opposition part of which I am a card carrying member needs to stop being an opposition party and start being a government in waiting. The opposition must give Nigerians something to look forward to. We must provide credible alternatives for security and economic development in the Northern part of Nigeria.
Before I end this, I must pay maximum respect to our fallen soldiers who have died in this fight and those who are still fighting. I have many friends in the Armed Forces and it pains me deeply to see them constantly updating pictures of young men killed in this battle, newly married men, men with toddler children, men who have fixed wedding dates but will never make it to see their weddings. Nigeria will not forget your sacrifices. You have given your today for our tomorrow and we will remain forever grateful.
Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of America once said “wars are not paid for in war time, the bill comes later”. We will never know the full costs of this disaster until a few years’ time. This is why we must find an immediate solution to reduce the damages already caused. We must continue to demand that the government brings back our Chibok girls and every other Nigerian kidnapped by the boko haram sect; we must demand that the government restores sanity and security to every state in Nigeria. And we must demand that the government provides an economic development roadmap for the northern part of Nigeria that is more robust than the current plan they have rolled out.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Ife Adebayo is an IT Consultant with work experience in Germany, the United Kingdom and Nigeria. He currently runs his own IT firm in Lagos, Nigeria. He is an ardent believer in the Nigerian project and encourages all Nigerians to become actively involved in making Nigeria a better place.
Ife is a registered member of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Epe Local Government, Lagos State. He was an active member of the UK branch of the party, holding the post of Youth Leader for the year 2010/2011.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.